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1 correction by michaelgregg - Show corrections

KOOMBANA INQUIRY.   FINDING OF THE COURT OF MARINE. "VESSEL'S STABILITY UNASSAILABLE". "CAPTAIN'S CAREFULNESS AND COM- PETENCY BEYOND QUESTION"     "A MYSTERY OF THE SEA."   sets), gave their decision at: the Fremantle m Courthoiuse yesterday regarding'.the loss -at sea of the s. Koombana on or about March S;1912, between Port Hedland and Broome. Mr M. L. Moss, B.C., who watched the pro. Seedings on behalf of :the Adelaide Steam. sip co., and Mr. W. 11. Moron, attorney and manager for the conpany in this State, were the only persons who sat in the body =Tt " :the 25t 6t, th, and 29th days of. April, 1912, the circumsta-nces surrounding the loss at sea of the s-s. Koombana. The diffic?lties at tondant on doing so were exceptiosial, be cause though in many inquiries under the INavigation Act of 1904, the Act under which h inquiry is held, evddnoe can be adduced from persons who were on board-and who can depose to the circumstances imiediately attendant on a disaster to a ship, no such evidence is obtainable in this case owing to '. : e fact that the ill-fated vessel has totally disappeared at sea, with all on board of ,hr. S-:.: •In order, therefore, to account ' for such 1 -,tal disappearance, the inquiry for the mot ;-art must be directed to considerations of - the": " .. h-? - Ship's Stability. Equipment, s-ad Sea worthiness, . toge ther with Captain Allen's efficiency and :.;.- carefulness as a shipmaster. During the ;s. . "inquiry Mr. Parker, the Crown Prosecutor, appeared on behalf of the Chief Harbour. master, and Mr. M. L. Moss, K.C., appeared S on behalf of the Adelaide S.S. Co., the owners of the s.s. Koombana. The Court -- wa's considerabhly assisted also by the pro. since throughout the inquiry of a large model of the Koombana, complete in minute detail, as also by various plans, etc., readily produced. The so. Koombeana was a steel c.-:,;: . -?-e steamer of 3,668 tons gross and 2,182 - ns net. - Her length was 340ft. lin., breadth 48ft. 2in., and depth 25ft. 8in. Her .: di - ced h.p. was 4,000, and her normal : .?h.p. 423. She was built by Messs. Alex. Stephen and Son, Ltd., Glugow, in the y" ear 1908 from specifications to the . Highest Class of British Corporation . Requirements, S' which in many instances she exceeded., S also held a marine tertificate to August, 1912,isesued by the Department of Naviga - ion of New South Wales, and was last dockced in Sydney on August 15, 1911. The Court, heard evidence from Mr. S. B. -P. -:- Stevens, an officer of eo the Commonwesita Weather Bureau, Perth; Captain Upjhon, w,.t Rho is master of the ss. Bullarra, and who was chief officer of the s.s. Koombans for 12 : months; Mr. James Crossley, chief officer of the s.s. Bullarra; Captain James F. Mor rison, Inspector of Shipping at the Port of Fremantle, who had official knowledge of the ' s.s. Kooinbana; Captain Matthew John Wil. ain Henry John Clarke, asistant wharf formerly chief officer of the ss. Koombana for fifteen months on the North-West coast of Western Australia, and also on her maiden voyago to Australia from Glasgow; Mr. Alex. Craig, the chief en giner of the as. Brllrras; Captain J. A. Rankin, Acting-Marine Superintendent for the Adelaide Steamship Company for Aus tralasia- who produced to the Court and explained by actual test a Ralston stability and trim indicator specially made for the s.s Koombana and which was not on board eng neer- urveyor for tie-Harbour and Light Moron, attorney and manager in Western Australia for the Adelaide Steamship Com pany; Captain Irvine, the Chief Harbour master for Western Australin ; the Rev. William Patrick, who saw the ss. Koombana leave Port Hedland on her last voyage, and Captain G. Cumming, being the only per son who volunteered evidence in response to an invitation from the Court publicly an no nced and published in the daily press. The Court Finds that the s.s. Koombana, official number 22,'l25, registered in Adelaide, Captain Thomas Allen master, and owned by. the Adelaide Steamship Company, Ltd., was on a voyage from. Fremantle to Derby,va ports. She sailed franm Port Hedlad on . 'Earch 20, 1912, at about 10.20 o'clock a.m, drawing '19ft. aft and about 12ft. forward in excellent trim, with her propeller well submerged, and shaped a course to round, Bedent Island on her way to Broome. The voyage from Port Hedland to Broome is usually accomplished in about 24 honoa he as Bullarra was at Port Hediand at the same time ashe sthe s. Keombana, sad left that port, bmnd socthwards, aeant half an hour or so after the es. Koembm left, Bullarra Had the Koomban in Sight until noon. At aboot 6.30 p.m .th?t day the wind licceased unil it blew a ioleat h?ezricane, which lsoed for smeveel hoe, nd the ill,-fated Koombha has o er bees seen orhesad of iance. During The day of March 20 las.t, the wind w blowing a fresh breeze from the noth-east, aR th - - weather was a bit overoat and dirty, buit Captain Upjohn and Captain Allen in ca - veosation decided there was nothing in it, nd neither of them expected toencou

SfCf a DIOW asm une +.. aR larrae' logbook as A Howling Hurricane,. a hurricane which apparently has totally engulfed the sn. Koombana, and which, a cording to Captain Upjohn's evidence, the s.s B rr only srrived throgh a miacle. There was an unattended 4ih horseon Bedout Island, the light in wich, hoeover, was not burning on March 20. The se. oombana should, haowver,:in the ordi mmeary of things, hase been clear of Seth i?and before the wind became a hlrri= c ie,e., before it waO? dark that day. The Only Wzrecage Discovered -ee- ,Mticked Wp 4 ditance'ag fr.om

20'to 70 miles from Bedoutsland, and.with I tho exception.of some airtanks it; was all -picked p at sea, the air tanks alone having been found onthe ,mainland.- The wreckage consisted of a part- of a itaboard. hbow planking of a motor launch; a stato-roomn door, aid panel fromnthe promenade deck, two planks for covering tanks:of lifeboats, and- ome air tanks . Thae?? Court Cannot!Say Whlat ctually Happened - to the s.. Koombana, but it seems reason ably clear that ,the:hurricane of the :night of the 20-21 March last :ias responsible for her total loss'at sea. With;regard,to her stability, .it is known what cargo, coal, etc., she had: on board' whei leaving 'Port SHedland, and where it was stowed; also the condition of herhballast tanks: She carried a load of 260 tons or cargo; properly stowed; 450 tons. of. coal, 87 tons,ofwater in' her tanks,;and-of' stores she had-some .60 tons. She also had .on :-bord..76 pasengers and a crew of 74. Ths stability of the vessel with that:load was tested with Ralston's stability indicator; 'which-shewed sho had a G.M. of .2ft.-7Ain.iplus...Seven other tests were made with the indicator under, varying conditions of load, and in each of them her.. . - Stabili was Shown tobEntiiely ,Satis : factory. I further asifirmatson of the ship'sstability and.seawarthiness bhe requir·ed it is to on "found in the caieer of the vessel since 1908 on the -Australian coast. All'the witnesses who have had 'experince 'in; her .deposed to_ her .very •ee?llent seagoing qualities. With regard to the personnel of the vessel, i as of -the highest quality, and both Capt. Allen and the chief officer held extra masters' certificates: and both were men of great' e perience cn the Australian coast. The Ccurt is satisfied that the as. Koombana, in construction, stability, and seaworthiness, was equil to? ny "vissel-of her class -in "th3 Australian coastal trade. The Court thinks it desirable that telegrams regarding: the weather should be exchanged every day.bc ;twpen stations -where observations are made along the'north-west coast, that the~infor mation so obtained should be posted for general: informatin, and that stormn'signis should be shown at'all perts:: - -. Thanks are.Due, ' to ?r. W. E. Mozon, tih attorney and mana ger -in Western -Austroia for the Adelaide S.S. Co.,;. to Capt. Rankin,i Acting-Marine Superintendent for the Company; and- to oficersm enerally for their eforts in supply ing-to-the Court information regarding the vessel, and for supplying so readily plans. model, and- details'of every description, in cluding detailed reports from Mr. Gardiner, the Company's manager at Port Hedland7 and producing witnesses, no doubt at, soine considerable inconveni?ece. The Govern-. ment and the Company are to be commended for' their prompt action. in endeavouring .to obtain infuormation as to the whereaboits of the misng vesl. In conelusion, the Court simply finds, without indulging in' useless specultibn,'that the . : _ • " Stability and Seaworthiness of the s.s. Koom I ana were Unassailable, - and the competency and carefulness of -her n-aster, - Capt.: Allen, beyondquesti&.. and t Ot', after, being 'lost- sighit-, of.: at sea' on. the 20th March, 1912, her fate passes beyond -human knowledge and remains'a mystery of the sea. - -

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